What’s in a name? Why getting a diagnosis of chronic pain is important
From all the research I have been doing, this is the one MAJOR failing that could painlessly, easily, compassionately be fixed by healthcare professionals realizing the grief that is provoked when you tell someone they are not going to get better, or that they should get better if only they were working harder or being a better person. Not helpful. Inviting someone to be a part of a long term healthcare relationship with goals and someone who calls and checks in on their patients from time to time is what seems to make a huge, massive difference in the quality of life and treatment outcomes of many with chronic pain disorders. I love how cleanly this article lays that side of getting diagnosed out!
Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never harm me – yeah right! Words have power when we’re looking for treatment, or we’re giving treatments for pain. I’ve written about the staying power of language used to describe back pain here.
But let’s look at a more distinct problem: diagnoses.
Diagnoses are, in the words of Annemarie Jutel, “the classification tools of medicine…” Sociologically, they segment and order bodily states, indicating what is and isn’t normal. “A diagnosis is integral to medicine because it organises illness, identifies treatment options, predicts outcomes and provides an explanatory framework (Jutel, 2009). ”
Diagnoses also give people permission to be ill. Being diagnosed replaces mystery with — well, something else depending on the label.
Getting a diagnosis indicating that chronic pain was not likely to be alleviated was a striking finding from my PhD research, and supported by numerous qualitative…
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